A £1m training facility to prepare Royal Navy sailors to man the first of the Queen Elizabeth Class carriers, due in 2016, opened in Fareham, Hampshire. To keep up with the state-of-the-art technology on board, sailors and engineers will be trained at HMS Collingwood, which has been set out in the same way as an operations room on board the new carrier.
The 65,000-tonne carrier – three times the displacement of HMS Illustrious – is currently being assembled at Babcock's dockyard in Rosyth, and will be able to take up to 40 aircraft; almost twice the capacity of the Invincible Class carriers.
Personnel will be trained on the new mission system which links all the combat, communications and visual surveillance systems together by a fibre-optic network, allowing for a much more integrated way of working.
As the 'brain' of the ship, the mission system brings together air traffic control, navigation, tactical pictures compilation, communications and mission planning for the embarked F-35 Joint Strike Fighters and Merlin helicopters. It will also allow for engineering and logistic support.